The concept of a pop-up business is quite an interesting one. You set up shop for a few hours or a few days and you sell your wares. The upside potential is great and we’ve discussed many reasons why you should consider joining the pop-up bandwagon. My favourite thing about the pop-up idea is how you can introduce a new business or an existing business to a new area. This is the best marketing and proof of concept you can get. So, with that in mind let’s look at some business ideas that work best with the pop-up concept. The idea is if you’re planning on starting one of these businesses or already have one, you can use the pop-up concept to prove, start or grow your business.


If pop-up business had a mother it would be photography. Think about it, remember how photographers would just pop up in parks and public places offering their photography services? The game has changed somewhat. Everybody has a camera in their pocket that can take good photos. However, this also means that the standards of photography have been lifted. Someone in photography can set up a pop-up photography booth at events. A well-designed booth with signage showing the event and a little flair. People love well-taken photos that say where they were.


If photography is the mother of pop-up business then food is surely the father. I’m going to assume we are all familiar enough with pop-up food businesses to know exactly how well the idea works. This can be used very well if you are trying to introduce a new business or enter a new area with an existing business. Events, mall booths and food trucks are 3 approaches to pop-up businesses that work very well for food. But don’t let the limits of my imagination be the limits of yours. There are many other applications for the pop-up concept to food that you can explore.


I wouldn’t go as far as to say that everybody loves a massage but they are really popular. Of course, massages are not an everyday thing and they don’t work in every situation. However, consider a small massage booth that pops up at a shopping mall or an event like a show or trade fair. Offering 5-15 minute shoulder and foot massages I cannot for the life in me see why that wouldn’t work. Again you could be looking to introduce a business or spread the reach of an existing one. This works especially well if you’re offering mobile services. Think about it.

Interactive product demos

This one shouldn’t need much stretching of the imagination to see the value in. The best way to sell or raise awareness of new products is through the customer experience. This is very close to the example we just looked at with a massage pop-up store which gives people the experience rather than just talking about the product. The same could be done with kitchen products like air fryers and toasters among others. You could do this with just about any physical product.

Vending machines

Vending machines aren’t quite popular in Zimbabwe as people are taking up these roles. That doesn’t mean they are an altogether bad idea in Zimbabwe. Using them on a pop-up basis could work very well. Consider the example of beverages which people can hardly get enough of as we approach the summer. Granted you will have to negotiate a little with our cashless (by force) trading environment but setting up drinks vending machine at an event can work out decently if not well. Other places such as campuses and schools work too because, unlike vendors, vending machines can sell for 24 hours a day.

The pop-up concept is a great friend to small and emerging businesses and can be used to great effect. You could try these other ideas or come up with some of your own. I remember giving up on a business idea because I simply didn’t understand the pop-up concept at the time. Let’s hope you will go one step further than I did.